The BLM Deputy Game; avoid scrutiny, play games with the law


This stallion can smell it, can you? It’s pretty rotten.


Karen Budd-Falen has been tapped to run U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service as an “assistance Secretary” with acting authority of the Secretary.

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) argued the agency is violating federal law on vacancies by “temporarily redelegating” roles to existing employees for the 27th time under the Trump administration. (Read More HERE in The Hill.)

In the article below, published May 18th, we discuss the way BLM has been using the same system to skirt oversight with the “Deputy Director with acting authority of Director.”

Budd-Falen was an attorney behind one of the suits to kill wild horses filed in Utah. The one most people are aware of was the NACO case in NV. Both cases lost in court. (WHE was a party to the case).

~~~~~~ please read below to learn about the Deputy Director Game

It has been 849 days since the inauguration of this administration.

In 849 days the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has not had anyone nominated to, or seated in, the chair of Director. A position that goes through Congressional vetting.

The Deputy Directors (in Acting and/or official capacity) have been given authority of the Director by the Secretary of Interior. (Ruhs, Steed and now Hammond is set to enter) This position does not carry Congressional vetting.

  • The two men that have occupied the Deputy Director of policy and programs chair are: John Ruhs (formerly Nevada State Director) and Brian Steed (former Chief of Staff of Chris Stewart, Utah Congressman).
  • Both of these men were given the authority of the director by former Secretary of Interior, Ryan Zinke.

As wild horse advocates the two points above should need no illustration of just how dangerous they are to wild horses.

Zinke carried horse slaughter legislation as a Congressman in Montana (buddies with Protect the Harvests Duquette).

John Ruhs was sent to replace Amy Lueders as NV Director after Bunkerville, Grass March and the debacle at Fish Creek to placate livestock interests through any tactic necessary. He ran livestock placation projects that include over $1,000,000 being paid to please two permittees at Argenta (Grass March). He even made mandatory penalties under the law disappear for those involved in activities at Fish Creek (wild horses).

Ruhs is also a member of the Society for Range Management, the organization that created the “alliance,” runs it’s agenda and carried the BLM Report to Congress last year that incorporates this document. Individuals Ruhs helped “avoid legal penalty” when he was NV State director, are also members of SRM. Can you say “conflict of interest?”

Brian Steed was Chief of Staff for Chris Stewart (R-UT) from 2013 before taking the Deputy chair at BLM at the end of 2017. While in Stewarts office Steed spearheaded bills to turn over the wild horse program to the states to manage; supporting Iron and Beaver county as they threatened to remove wild horses illegally.

With John Ruhs at Deputy Director the “Summit of the Wild Horse” was organized in August of 2017 with Steed, Protect the Harvest, Public Lands Council, Iron county commission, etc. No wild horse organization was permitted to attend.

At the same time the HSUS, ASPCA, Return to Freedom collaboration with livestock had begun in 2016 when John Ruhs was NV State lead, carried to DC and then reinforced at the “Summit show.” Both carry to DC by Ruhs.

Ruhs became a bit of a punchline after the grilling he received over the National Monument Report to Congress. Ruhs looks right out of central casting for an old black and white western movie; a classic villain.

Three weeks later it was announced that Steed would leave his position in Stewart’s office and take the chair from Ruhs.

Steed carried the crooked alliance on wild horses (the HSUS, Return to Freedom, Stewart, Ruhs, Public Lands Council, et al) forward.

Last year it was incorporated into BLM’s report to Congress on wild horses. (Thank you to all of our readers that took our action item and got it rejected!)

Congress has requested a new report. This time they are going to present the same asks as last year, but with more flourish. That flourish includes the “corporate animal orgs” taking the lead on a public relations campaign. 

All parties are pretty confident that “this alliance will reach the goal.” WHE have been in conferences with Senators, on litigation, and watching mark-ups (already taking place). We are seeing some really tragic consequences already in play die to the “jump in bed” strategy of multi million dollar political players. They did not fight anything, they just looked for their own gains.

Steed is steeping down to take a job with the State of Utah and Casey Hammond is now set to take that Deputy chair.

There was a Congressional probe into National Monuments. Why not on the Report to Congress on Wild Horses?

There is more than enough evidence to warrant a deep look at the corruption behind this report. Just start with Ryan Zinke? (HERE)

Now confident that Ruhs and Steed have completed this task, Casey Hammond will take the chair.

A bit about Hammond:

Casey Hammond is Deputy Assistant Secretary on Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Hammond was central in the sage grouse review team that worked hard under this administration to give more power to states.

Sage grouse protections are not protections, it is a power grab running the agenda of those that resent federal authority to do things like place the Greater Sage Grouse on the Endangered Species List.

This wild horse alliance? The “agreement” has opened the door for more money to be diverted into livestock enhancement, just like the charade of sage grouse. It has opened the door to start dolling out subsidies anywhere a wild horse stands. (As well as; completely sterile herds used as holding facilities in existing HMAs where they are supposed to be wild, gelding, spaying, 15-20K removed each year.) 

Casey Hammond is coming in to implement. To placate livestock interests with sage grouse, wild horses, as oil and gas run roughshod over wild places. 

With the Greater Sage Grouse? at least there was a pretense of public participation. With wild horses? all of this was backroom, big corporate money and politics. You had no voice at all. 

(you can read more about Casey Hammond and relationship to power grabs and oil and gas HERE).

We MUST get an investigation into the BLM Report to Congress on Wild Horses.

A status quo must be maintained; no changes to the law, no new subsidies. The report is a flagrant power grab that uses subterfuge, collusion, intimidation, and ignores science and the voice of the American people.


We do not have much time. If this goes through the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act will be gutted, changed and never undone. We will enter (beginning October 2019) the largest years of wild horse roundups since the Act was passed. You will see spaying, gelding, decimation without justification, of our last truly wild herds.

Do not hesitate, make the call., send an email, FAX, and get your friends to do it, too. 

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Categories: Lead, Wild Horse Education